I’m a Roger Ebert fan. Always have been, so I really enjoyed reading this article today. What I’ve always appreciated about his reviews was that it didn’t really matter whether or not he liked the movie, it was the way he talked about the movie hat told you what you needed to know. Over the years I have liked things he didn’t and vice versa, but when reading his reviews, he never one just recited the plot back to me and said “it’s great” or “it sucks.”
That’s what a lot of reviewers now. They write a short article recounting the plot and then snarkily tell you whether or not they think it is good. The problem I have with these reviews is that they don’t tell me anything. They don’t explain why something is good or sucks. They just assume that if you are reading the review then you trust the reviewer. Many times, in publications and on blogs that don’t have one or two dedicated film critics, you don’t know who is writing it at all. Maybe some people read these reviews and find them useful. I, like many human beings, am reminded everyday that not everyone in the world agrees with me on everything. This is precisely why I don’t find a review by someone I don’t know anything about, which doesn’t explain how the opinion came to be, of any particular assistance. What if one of these new fangled reviewers loves “Little Miss Sunshine?” I hate that movie, and I can articulate why, though I won’t do so right now. How can I let that person’s taste decide whether or not I see a film in the same genre?
When Ebert reviews films he explains what does and does not work about them, for him. You may like it. He might even think it’s weird that you like it, but from the tone of his writing and the descriptive words he uses, you can get an idea as to whether or not it’s your cup of tea.